UPDATED, Nov. 27: With the largest update to educational funding since 1993 under a bill adopted by both houses Nov. 20, Arlington is expected to receive more than $2 million more in next year’s budget for Chapter 70 aid. The total amount due for Arlington is not yet known.
The $1.5 billion K-12 funding bill, which Gov. Baker expects to sign Nov. 26, aims to benefit students in every school district in the Commonwealth, regardless of income level or ZIP code. The investment is intended to update statewide education policy and support effective approaches to closing opportunity gaps for students throughout the Commonwealth.
The committee report was enthusiastically supported by the Arlington delegation, comprising state Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) and Rep. David Rogers (D-Cambridge). Both the House and Senate voted unanimously to enact the bill.
In a news release, each member of the delegation commented.
“The passage of this bill embodies the Legislature’s commitment to improving our public education system for every student in the Commonwealth,” Friedman said. “This bill will ensure that every community in our district has adequate resources to provide high quality education to all. I commend my colleagues for putting public education at the forefront of our shared agenda, and am excited to see the positive impact this historic bill will make on schools in my district when the bill eventually becomes law.”
Garballey said: “In a victory for all of our public schools in Massachusetts, this legislation invests $1.5 billion into our public schools over the next seven years. As a former member of the Arlington School Committee, some of the aspects of the legislation that I am most proud of include returning the definition of low income to 185% of the federal poverty level, the inclusion of special-education transportation costs in the special-education circuit breaker and increasing the foundation rates for guidance and psychological services.
“Ensuring educational opportunities for all students regardless of ZIP code and strengthening our support to those who learn differently has been and will continue to be one of my most passionate priorities.”
Rogers said: “This historic legislation is truly an enormous breakthrough and will invest $1.5 billion in the Commonwealth’s public education system over the next seven years, and make a series of additional positive changes to our educational system. This transformational new law is a landmark victory for public education that will make a huge positive difference for children and school districts all across the Commonwealth and right here at home as well!”
In addition, the legislation aims to:
- adequately fund employee and retiree health-insurance costs,
- increase special-education enrollment-cost assumption,
- increase funding for English language learners and
- returns the definition of low income to 185 percent of the federal poverty level, as opposed to the 133 percent used in recent years.
Public schools will see additional social-emotional support, mental-health services, charter-tuition reimbursements within three years and an expansion of the special-education circuit breaker to include transportation costs, along with funding for school construction and renovation.
This news announcement was published Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, and updated Nov. 27, to add links.
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